Four Rules to Learn Chinese 把(ba) Sentence(Intermediate Level)

When learning Chinese sentence structure, we can never skip the 把 sentence. According to the variations of words in 把 sentence, it does seem like one of the most difficult sentence structure in Chinese Grammar. Otherwise as one of the most often-used sentence in our daily life, 把 sentence must be learned well. Here come the four rules, which can help you to grab the basic and common usage of 把 sentence.

Rule #1

the structure and the meaning
S + 把 + O + V + others

Subjects do some actions on objects to make them change. This 把 sentence emphasizes the actions(verb) by which the changes of objects made. In some aspects, it can be translated as the English sentence with have, make and let. Most of the把 sentence can be rewritten in Verb + Object order.

我们小偷抓住了。(We make the theft caught.)
我们抓住了小偷。 ( We catch the theft.)
房间打扫了。( I make the house clean.)
我打扫房间了。(I clean the house.)

Rule #2

In把 sentence, verbs can never be used alone and there must some words put before or after them. That is why we need “others” in this sentence structure. Others can be 了 着 过 nonce or phrases.

衣服 洗 了。
书 读 一遍。
笔 放 在桌子上了。

In addition, there are some verbs that cannot be used as predication verbs of 把 sentences

  1. intransitive verbs which cannot be follow ed by any object ,such as “旅行、旅游、游泳、跳舞、合作、结婚、睡觉、吃饭” etc.
  2. some of the verbs of judgment or state ,such as “有、是、像、在、存在”.
  3. some of the verbs of expressing mentality or senses,such as “知道、同意、觉得、希望、、渴望、期望、喜欢、爱、要求、看见、听见、学习”.
  4. some of the directional verbs,such as “上、下、进、出、回、到、过、起” etc.

Rule #3

Objects in 把 sentence must be definite. That explains “把一些 书(some books)拿来。”×—— It should be “把这些书(these books)拿来”。Some may wonder why we can say “把书拿来”. In this case, the book in this sentence is that one the speaker and listener both know.

Rule #4

The negative form of this 把 sentence: “不” “没” “没有” should be put just before 把.

  1. 我没有把消息告诉他。——×我把消息没有告诉他。 (I didn’t let him know this news.)
  2. 她不把钱给他。——×她把钱不给他。(She doesn’t give him the money.)


Jing Cao is the chief editor at Dig Mandarin. She devotes herself to the research of Chinese langugage and how to teach Chinese as a second language better.